Mark Robson

+44 (0) 1382 384411
Professor of English & Theatre Studies



Professor Mark Robson joins the University of Dundee in August 2013 as Chair of English and Theatre Studies. He has held posts at the Universities of Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds, and in 2011-12 was Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. He received his PhD from Leeds in 1998.

Having published several books and dozens of articles, Professor Robson regularly attends international conferences and has delivered papers in many countries, including presentations in Argentina, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Malta, Spain, and the USA.

Professor Robson is also a playwright and in 2013 has an attachment to the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, as one of the ‘Traverse Fifty’ group of writers, selected from an international competition to help celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Traverse.

Areas of expertise - Modern literature, including Shakespeare; literary and critical theory; rhetoric and aesthetics; literature, film and visual culture; comparative literature (especially with French) and translation (primarily theoretical rather than practical aspects).

(Photograph by Lee Howell)

Watch Prof Mark Robson's presentation at the University of Dundee Discovery Days 2014.



Professor Robson has research and teaching interests encompass a wide range of arts and humanities topics.

Professor Robson is the convenor of the MLitt in Theatre Studies, a unique collaboration between the School of Humanities, the Dundee Rep Theatre and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. He also teaches across a range of modules in English, and is convenor of the level 2 core modules and the level 3 Shakespeare module.

Professor Robson has extensive experience of the successful supervision of doctoral students, and has supervised theses on contemporary drama, poetry and fiction, early modern topics, Victorian Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, narrative, and theories of translation. He is particularly keen to work with students interested in aesthetics, tragedy, modern and contemporary theatre, Shakespeare, philosophies of love, and notions of democratic culture.



Professor Robson has research and teaching interests encompass a wide range of arts and humanities topics.

He began as a specialist in early modern literature and culture, and his doctoral thesis was on the representation of Sir Thomas More in the decades following his execution in 1535. The thesis was primarily concerned with the politics and ethics of the representation of violence, a thread that still runs through Professor Robson’s work. He has since published books and many articles and chapters on early modern culture, and particularly Shakespeare (see Publications). Much of this work has been concerned with issues of rhetoric and aesthetics.

Professor Robson’s work is deeply informed by a range of thinkers in the modern European philosophical tradition, especially Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man. Work associated with deconstruction remains a primary influence on his work.

In recent years, he has also worked closely with the thought of Jacques Rancière, publishing several articles and editing a special issue of a journal, but also including translating a new piece by Professor Rancière on film.

Current work includes further material on Derrida, Rancière and Shakespeare. Professor Robson is completing a book on the politics of suicide in contemporary culture which engages closely with a range of prose texts and films. He is also pursuing projects on tragedy, love, democracy and, especially, contemporary drama.

AHRC funded studentships are available in these research areas - more details

Selected Publications

Selected Publications


Shakespeare, Jonson, and the Claims of the Performative (with James Loxley) (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), 168 pp.

Stephen Greenblatt, Routledge Critical Thinkers (London and New York: Routledge, 2008), 156 pp.

The Sense of Early Modern Writing: Rhetoric, Poetics, Aesthetics (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2006), 230 pp.

Jacques Rancière: Aesthetics, Politics, Philosophy (ed.) (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005). Special issue of Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory 28.1 (2005), 128 pp.

Language in Theory (with Peter Stockwell) (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), 192 pp.

The Limits of Death: Between Philosophy and Psychoanalysis (ed. with Joanne Morra and Marquard Smith) (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), 280 pp.

Book chapters

‘The Hour Is Unknown: Julius Caesar, et cetera’, in Shakespeare and the Urgency of Now: Criticism and Theory in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Cary DiPietro and Hugh Grady (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 188-208

Cinemarxis: Rancière and Godard’, in Rancière and Film, ed. Paul Bowman (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), pp. 133-148

‘Surviving Truth (Measure for Measure)’, Posthumanist Shakespeares, ed. Stefan Herbrechter and Ivan Callus (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 160-177

‘General Introduction’, The History of Suicide in England 1650-1850, 8 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011 [vols 1-4], 2012 [vols 5-8]), pp. vii-xxvi

‘Film, Fall, Fable: Rancière, Rossellini, Flaubert, Haneke’, in Reading Rancière: Critical Dissensus, ed. Paul Bowman and Richard Stamp (London and New York: Continuum, 2011), pp. 185-199

‘HUM (-an, -ane, -anity, -anities, -anism, -anise)’, in Towards a New Literary Humanism, ed. Andy Mousley (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 181-96

‘The Ethics of Anonymity’, revised reprint in Anonymity in Early Modern England: What’s in a Name?, ed. Janet Wright Starner and Barbara Traister (Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 159-175

‘New Historicism’, in The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, Gen. ed. Michael Ryan, Volume II: Literary Theory from 1966 to the present, ed. Robert Eaglestone (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. 746-753

‘Jonson and Shakespeare’, in Ben Jonson in Context, ed. Julie Sanders (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 57-64

‘Estetyczne wspólnoty Jacques’a Rancière’a’, trans. Maciej Kropiwnicki, in Jacques Rancière, Dzielenie postrzegalnego. Estetyka i polityka (Krakow: Korporacja Ha!art, 2008)

‘Impractical Criticism’, in English: The Condition of the Subject, ed. Philip Martin (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), pp. 168-179

Translatio Mori: Ellis Heywood’s “Thomas More” ’, in Travels and Translations in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Mike Pincombe (Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 73-87

‘Lady Hester Pulter’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

‘Defending Poetry, or, Is There an Early Modern Aesthetic?’, in The New Aestheticism, ed. John J. Joughin and Simon Malpas (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2003), pp. 119-130

‘Writing Limits in William Roper’s Life of Thomas More’, in Writing the Lives of Writers, ed. Warwick Gould and Thomas F. Staley (Basingstoke and New York: Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, 1998), pp. 79-89

Journal articles

‘Literatura y democracia’, trans. Nicolás Cabral, La Tempestad 86 (Mexico) (September-October 2012): 104-107

‘In the Bitter Letter (A Rendition of Othello)’, Oxford Literary Review 34.1 (2012): 89-108

‘Fear of Falling: DeLillo’s Images’, Interfaces: Image, Texte, Langage 32 (2011): 55-68

‘ “An empty body, a ghost, a pale incubus”: Shakespeare, Lacan and the Future Anterior’, Shakespeare Yearbook 19 (2010): 55-74

‘The Question: Hamlet’s Life After Life’, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 5.1 (2010): n.p. [e-journal]

‘What is a “Relevant” Theory?: Translating Derrida’s Shakespeare’, Tropismes 18 (2010): 207-224

‘A Panel Discussion with Michèle Le Dœuff’, Paragraph 33.1 (2010): 105-124

‘In the Living Room: Jacques Derrida’s Memory’, Oxford Literary Review 31.1 (2009): 15-31

‘ “A literary animal”: Rancière, Derrida and the Literature of Democracy’, Parallax 52 (2009): 88-101

‘Oedipal Visuality: Freud, Romanticism, Hamlet’, Romanticism 15 (2009): 54-64

‘An Other Europe’, Paragraph 31.3 (2008): 375-388

‘The Ethics of Anonymity’, Modern Language Review 103.2 (2008): 350-363

‘Reading Hester Pulter Reading’, Literature Compass 2 (2005): 17C 162, 1-12 [e-journal]

‘Jacques Rancière’s Aesthetic Communities’, Paragraph 28.1 (2005): 77-95

‘Introduction: Hearing Voices’, Paragraph 28.1 (2005): 1-12

‘Shakespeare’s Words of the Future: Promising Richard III’, Textual Practice 19.1 (2005): 13-30

‘The Baby Bomber’, Journal of Visual Culture 3.1 (2004): 63-76

‘ “Trying to pick a lock with a wet herring”: Hamlet, Film, and Spectres of Psychoanalysis’, EnterText 1.2 (2001): 242-258

‘Looking with Ears, Hearing with Eyes: Shakespeare and the Ear of the Early Modern’, Early Modern Literary Studies 7.1 (2001): n. p. [e-journal]

‘Swansongs: Reading Voice in the Poetry of Lady Hester Pulter’, English Manuscript Studies, 1100-1700 9 (2000): 238-256